The Coronavirus pandemic changed the world’s jet-setting ways in the blink of an eye with travel coming to a complete standstill.None of us are in a position to say exactly when travel will resume. The situation is fast changing, the world is under lockdown, and with increasingly stringent restrictions coming into place across the globe, many of our clients are asking how they can still plan to travel. We all want something to look forward to during these times.Yes! We will travel again and truth be told we all deserve a vacation after this. Africa will be ready and waiting. Now is not the time to travel and it would be irresponsible of us to recommend that you do. Instead, we can provide you with all the advice, inspiration and expertise needed for deciding when and where to plan your safari holiday.We know the Coronavirus won’t stop overnight. Rather, its spread will decline at different paces in different places. History has taught us that travel recovery usually starts at the point when people feel confident that a crisis is under control. When the curve is flattened in a destination you wish to visit and all travel restrictions have been lifted, there should be little holding you back.
The views from the suite at Singita Lebombo will get you dreaming about that next safari sleep in. | Image provided by Singita
When do I start planning and when can I travel?
When done sensitively and with an open mind, there is enormous value in planning now and being flexible for your travels ahead. Whilst it’s difficult to predict, we’re recommending that you look ahead to the window of October - December 2020. This is when the experts are predicting that things will start normalising. If you are planning a family holiday and are uncertain of how school terms will have changed, then perhaps a 2021 June/July/August bucket list safari holiday would suit you better. 2021 could be your year to witness the great migration in East Africa - nature’s greatest annual wildlife show. With many travellers deferring their 2020 trips into 2021, availability is becoming tight. If you were thinking of a safari next year, now could be the time to start exploring if you want to secure our best-recommended lodges.Another consequence of covid-19 on South Africa is a weakened exchange rate, which means that if you're planning a safari holiday in South Africa for the end of 2020 or 2021, booking now would allow you to take advantage of the South African Rand exchange rate to the US Dollar and other major currencies.
Lion cubs run together in the Mala Mala Game reseserve | Image provided by Mala Mala
Where do I start?
Safari.com offers our consultation services entirely free of charge.Use these benefits to your advantage to minimize risk and deposit loss. Our consultants will do all of the admin on your behalf, both in finding suppliers with the greatest flexibility during the current circumstances and should you decide to or need to change your dates in the future. Given the travel restrictions and commitment to self-quarantining, our hotel, lodge and camp partners are offering unprecedented flexibility. You are generally able to defer your trip by up to 1 year from your travel date without penalty.We are well-versed in planning trips with multiple, moving parts, as well as the behind-the-scenes work to transition them, seamlessly, to new dates if necessary. Our strong partnerships with Africa’s best suppliers and lodges puts us in the position to negotiate on your behalf should the need ever arise.There really is an African safari holiday for everyone and if you're unsure of where to go, we can pinpoint Africa's most iconic and popular destinations as well as those hidden gems and off-the-beaten-track hideaways based on your likes and budget.
The mighty African elephant walks through the Zambezi river at sunset | Image provided by African Bush CampsThe value of a trusted travel planner has never been more apparent. It is worth booking full itinerary holidays, as they are SATSA and ATTA-protected - meaning you are covered if your travel plans are cancelled in advance. When booking ahead, read the fine print regarding the conditions of all your chosen carriers and suppliers to get clarity on change and cancellation policies. We recommend finding an appropriate travel insurance provider at this time and investigating Cancel For Any Reason insurance.
Will things be different?
There is so much that we don't yet know about what travel will look like post COVID-19. What we do know is that the world, its governments, airports and tourism gateways will respond to ensure that we can move through borders without risk. This is likely to mean an increase in testing for travelers before entrance being permitted to different countries, or VISAs being granted based on previous travel and COVID-19 test results. Thankfully for our clients, we are in the business of travel, and are therefore going to be completely up to speed with every new development and requirement for travel - information which we will make readily accessible to our current and future clients prior to travel.Car travel have been on the rise for five straight years, and now more than ever self-drive holidays could be the new hot trend.
How can I travel responsibly in the future?
Keep in mind that while the risk of infection during air travel is broadly low, airports and other transport hubs should still be navigated with care once the world starts traveling again. Avoiding crowded settings while traveling is also a good idea.Fly-in safari tours have become increasingly popular as they offer convenience and the opportunity to make the most of every destination you visit. You can fly directly to airstrips situated closest to your accommodation.One of the best things about safari is the conservation impact your trip will have for generations: protecting wildlife and conserving the land these animals call home while employing people in rural communities. Without tourism, it becomes even harder to protect them. Consider a safari with a conservation experience.Staying informed—via direct, trusted sources—is the best way to keep abreast of the travel restrictions and bans as they happen (and disappear again).
Fly in safaris are incredibly popular in Botswana due to their convenience | Image provided by African Bush Camps
Our top suggested lodges & tours
From classic itineraries like Cape Town, Kruger & Victoria Falls to epic East Africa journeys, you can find our expert recommendations for every type of traveller right here.